My first experience of grief was nearly two decades ago.
I knew very little of what grief left like then or how it moved through my body.
Cut to twenty years later and I find myself navigating through most intense grieving period of my life.
The only difference is that this time, I have no choice. I was spent from all the psychological analysis and resentful that nothing could inspire a peaceful relationship with my grief.
I felt I had no choice in the face of my inner demons of loneliness, isolation, fear, anxiety, depression and disconnection – they only grew in strength with each passing year as I cleverly tried every trick to get rid of them.
With the unknown the only certainty, I blindly committed to trusting my demons, and dived in with complete surrender allowing them to lead the way.
Sitting still in the isolating darkness of my pain night after night, the inner demons dancing around, I started to become acutely aware that these demons were not separate to me, they were an extension of me.
As a self-love advocate, loving all parts of me meant even the ugly demonic atrocities.
But how does one love the parts that hurt the most?
“Anything understood through the mind, limited
Everything experienced through the body, limitless.
A rainbow of emotions has been gifted to each life
Each life gifted with the ability to feel every emotion.
Ultimately the choice is ours
To feel or not to feel
But the hurtable human nature is the only way towards liberation.”
And feel I did, every day, for much of the last three years.
Every painful feeling, accompanied by a cascade of tears, holding a story of death – love lost, dreams crushed and hopes shattered.
Time and space took on a whole different meaning.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
I never stopped believing.
With patience and each passing moment, emerged a new feeling.
10 ways grief opened my heart:
- Respect for human emotions – its presence, intensity, varying colours and its reason for existing. This meant learning to let go of the need to control, manipulate and play games with my own emotions and that of another.
- Maintaining emotional integrity – with the many emotional highs and lows while grieving, effectively communicate my feelings became paramount. If I was sad or I needed a hug, to find the courage to share, without making excuses or looking for explanations for the way I felt.
- Safety to feel all emotions – there is no greater pain in this human life than the pain of not feeling. This means building trust even with my dark emotions. The more trust I cultivated in them, the safer they made me feel about all aspects of my being.
- Interdependence – never too old, never too wise, to experience the intimacy for giving another permission to hold sacred space for all that needs to be seen, heard and felt. This came to me, through complete strangers as a blessing to remind me of the connected power of our human hearts.
- Commitment to self – there is nothing more confronting than recognising that everyone I interact with, is a mirror of the duality that exists within me. This strengthened my commitment to never give up on myself- to continue to grow, nurture, nourish and mold into the vision of who I am choosing to become everyday.
- Loving my presence – grief revealing that the only thing that gets to define my worth is the energy that fuels my breath. Whatever flowed through my breath at any given moment (anger, joy, sadness), I learnt to breathe through it with acceptance and care.
- Trusting my intuition – a heightened level of sensitivity of the depth present in each one of us, gently revealing itself with clarity, the unspoken language of the sixth sense and beyond.
- Caring my grieving heart – I discovered that my heart is a two-year-old and that meant I had to feed it with love like I would a little child. Knowing how to care for myself, I observed, brought a deeper sense of connection in the presence of another.
- Boundaries without control – over the years my grief had turned into control of my emotions, people, places and things – a way to stop myself from feeling. Maintaining healthy inner boundaries without the need to control out of fear brought with it a level of challenge of having to let go of old ways of being. Let go while grieving? Another one of life’s mysterious paradox.
- Courageous warrior of the dark – I put down warrior stance against fear and began to trust, for there never existed a war with the dark. The more love I had for the dark, the more light it is willing to shine on me.
Like a woman in labour, life is a series of contractions and expansions birthing the soul that wishes to be fully seen in this physical reality.
And thus, my heart-opening remains an ongoing process, feeling me up with a sense of emotional freedom.
Building a relationship with grief in recent years has left me not only feeling humbled but also having great reverence for this core emotional process of our human existence that has defined much of my adult life.
How can you find new and empowering ways to relate to your grief?
My wish for you
May your journey with grief open your heart to the endless possibilities of experiencing unconditional love.